Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Racist Rants by Aaron Schlossberg; President Trump and John Bolton on North Korea; President Trump on Illegal Immigrants; Rudy Giuliani in Minor Accident; Confirmation of Gina Haspel and Vote; Sexual Harassment on Capital Hill. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 17, 2018 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:30:00]

ISAAC SAUL, APLUS.COM: Linda Sorsour was supposed to speak at a Kuni commencement ceremony. And so a group of kind of far right protestors showed up to protest her speaking at this commencement ceremony. Milo Yiannopoulos was there. Pamela Geller was there and across the street was this group of Orthodox Jews who are a bit controversial in their own right actually. They're very pro-- - pro-Palestine and after the Pamela Geller speech ended, this group of Trump supporters came over to where I was standing and sort of just started berating these Orthodox Jews accusing them of being fake Jews.

They were cursing at them. Giving them the middle finger. And the man that you guys have identified as Aaron Schlossberg was actually kind of leading the group. So I asked him, you know, if he was Jewish. He said he was and he was pretty -- just kind of over the top. And so when I saw this video go viral yesterday I immediately recognized his face as the man that I had run into about a year ago.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Chenjerai, when you look at the video -- the -- the new one of Aaron Schlossberg where he's talking about people speaking Spanish instead of English. He's talking about calling ICE. What strikes you most?

CHENJERAI KUMANYIKA, CO-HOST "UNCIVIL" PODCAST: Well, I mean, I just think that there are hundreds of -- the people in New York speak hundreds of different languages. And, you know, they don't have to ask this man's permission to do that. Right? And so, it just strikes me to be -- to represent a real connection between this concern and this -- that some people have that the country is becoming something different than they want. That they're entitled to rights other people aren't. And that goes right up to the White House. I think that it's not different from the White House. It's connected to what we see coming out of the White House.

KEILAR: And -- he's talking -- he -- he -- there are many number of beefs that he seems to have. One of them has to do with this -- this idea and I think certainly there are -- there are Americans out there who will share this with this rant. This idea that he feels like people who are speaking a different language are undocumented and he said that he's paying for their welfare. What did you think of that?

KUMANYIKA: Well I just felt that, you know, I mean first of all the idea that he's paying for their welfare is ridiculous. I mean, people who are immigrants and undocumented workers contribute tremendously to this economy. He was saying that to an employee which I think is interesting. I don't know, you know -- so that employee by definition was -- was contributing to the economy. But also the institute of taxation and economic policy estimates that undocumented workers contribute $11.7 billion into the economy. So in places in New York or places like Long Island, to remove all the DACA recipients out of the workforce would cost, you know, maybe $387 million of growth domestic product. I don't think he wants that. So, this idea that people are -- he's paying for people to live here is really absurd and dangerous.

KEILAR: Isaac, what do you think about why this video has gone viral? Because I'm sure that there are people on both sides of this debate. There are people who are going to be outraged. There are going to be people who connect to what this guy is saying. Why is this capturing so much attention?

SAUL: You know I think probably the most striking thing is just that it's happening in New York City like your correspondent mentioned. I mean, Spanish is spoken ubiquitously here. It's a language you hear often on the streets. In fact, the lawyer himself cites on his website -- on his bio that he's fluent in Spanish. It's actually part of how he advertises his law firm. So the irony's pretty rich and I think when people saw this, especially New Yorkers, it was just so shocking that this is happening right in Manhattan, right in mid-town where you hear Spanish all the time. And -- and frankly I think, you know, 99 percent of the people who live here don't have a problem with it.

KEILAR: He advertises as a professional skill that he speaks Spanish. That's what you're telling us.

SAUL: Yes.

KEILAR: On his website?

SAUL: Yes.

KEILAR: Wow.

SAUL: Absolutely. And I guess got upset to hear the Spanish people speaking it in his presence which is pretty startling.

KEILAR: Yes it is. Isaac Saul thank you so much. Chenjerai Kumanyika we really appreciate you being with us as well. Thank you.

SAUL: Thanks for having me.

KUMANYIKA: Thank you.

KEILAR: Coming up, the immigration battle that's pitting Republican against Republican. More lawmakers are signing a petition to force a vote on DACA even as Speaker Ryan tells them not to. And just in, CNN learning that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in a minor accident involving a pedicab in mid-town Manhattan. We'll have more on this developing story next.

[15:34:40] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:38:43] KEILAR: All right. So this is just in to CNN. Rudy Giuliani has been involved in a minor accident in mid-town Manhattan. I want to go straight now to Brynn Gingras on this story. What can you tell us? This involves a pedicab?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes that's right Brianna. So we know that Trump's lawyer Giuliani, he was riding in his own vehicle presumably in the backseat of that car in mid-town Manhattan about an avenue away from Times Square a heavily tourist area. And it seems according to the NYPD that a pedicab hit his vehicle. A pedicab if you're not familiar is one of those bicycles that has sort of seating on the back usually tourists use them to get around certain areas of the city.

But the good news here even with that small collision there were no injuries. So much so that the fire department didn't even need to be called to the scene. Not even clear if there was an accident report or anything like that. But no injuries for either Giuliani or the pedicab driver at this point. But a minor accident which I'm sure caused a little bit of traffic here in mid-town Manhattan. Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. Brynn Gingras thank you so much for that report. We have some breaking news. The U.S. Senate is voting to confirm President Trump's pick to lead the CIA Gina Haspel and Haspel becoming the first woman to lead the CIA with that vote. Let's go straight now to CNN's Manu Raju. This is a -- this is a big day. There've been some questions about whether she'd get through this process but she got through with Democratic support.

MANU RAJU, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She did. And -- and in fact, she already cleared one of the key votes was the filibuster that the Democrats had threatened to --

[15:40:14] MANU RAJU: -- launch against her. That was overcome by a 54 to 44 vote. Just a simple majority was required. And over -- in order for her to overcome that filibuster and she did overcome the opposition from two Republican Senators Jeff Flake and Ran Paul as well as John McCain who's absent but also announced his opposition to this nomination. But a handful of Democrats particularly from red states and states up for re-election like Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota even a swing state Senator like Bill Nelson of Florida who's also up for re-election in a very tough race. All decided to break ranks support this nomination. Helping it get over the finish line.

They're still voting on to ultimately confirm her to this post. It should be wrapped up in a matter of moments. At that point, she will become the next CIA Director replacing Mike Pompeo who's now the Secretary of State. She was able Brianna to really alleviate concerns that a lot of members had about her role in the Bush era during torture tactics that occurred while she oversaw a so-called CIA Black Site in Thailand. As well as the 2005 episode over the destruction of interrogation capes, a lot of members, Democrats in particular, still have concerns over those -- those episodes. But a handful of them were placated by what she said. Her efforts to distance herself from those controversies and her saying that she's not going to bring water boarding back and other harsh interrogation tactics back as the head of CIA. Brianna.

KEILAR: Manu Raju on the Hill, thank you. Now House Speaker Paul Ryan is scrambling to stop growing resistance within his own party. A group of moderate Republicans is signing on to a petition to force a vote on a bill to protect DREAMERs those DACA recipients. But Ryan says it will never make it past the President's desk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: So the question is will -- could we have a bill that has a vast majority of Republicans and that some Democrats would support. What's the combination? You know frankly, when the Senate failed to pass anything that surprised us a bit. I thought the bill that the President supported that I thought was reasonable could have passed. When they -- when they killed that bill that made me less optimistic. We're going through the same process here of seeing what kind of process could support and produce an outcome that could get a Presidential signature. And we're -- we're still exploring that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Now last week Ryan said he wanted a more substantial bill and he didn't want to have a quote "show pony" vote. Well my next guest then brought a pony pinata to the Speaker's office. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham she is the chairwoman for the Hispanic Caucus. Thank you so much for joining me. Burro or pony? What do you think? We're going to call it a show pony?

REP. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM, NEW MEXICO: We're going to call it a show pony. It was certainly meant to in a lighthearted way push back that these are real processes. We're serious about getting a vote and a debate. And we're serious about winning this issue. I mean, 80 percent of the American people want us to win on a permanent solution for DACA and to support and protect DREAMERs and that's exactly what we're going to do.

KEILAR: So you've been bringing gifts as I understand it to the Speaker's office. Just trying to, kind of, get some attention in your effort here. And Republicans -- some Republicans are starting to sign on even though the Speaker has said let's not do this. Let's show unity within our --within our conference. You say that Congress is opposed to a permanent bipartisan solution. What makes you so confident?

GRISHAM: Well -- since I've been elected since 2012 and I started in the 113th Congress, I don't think I've seen a bill with 250 co- sponsors. So you've got all of the Democrats. You've got 50 Republicans who are incredibly dedicated on this issue who want to solve it for their own communities. They want to solve it for the country. And yet since September, the Speaker has said that we will get a chance to do something. Well we -- he didn't keep his commitment to us on meeting regularly. In fact we never met in terms of the Speaker's leadership.

There was a small effort called the Number 2's meetings for awhile but now genuine leadership out of the House. And we've given them a multitude of opportunities and in fact even on these gifts that I bring, this is because the Speaker made a commitment to me personally. That he would spend time with me. We would talk about this issue. We would talk about the strategy and that never happened. And it's really to raise awareness and attention that the minority and the Speaker himself are preventing. A debate on the -- on policies and ideas that would protect and find a permanent solution for DREAMERs, including the bills that they want to do, which in my mind really limits legal immigration.

But all those would get a debate and a vote. So I think that's the message that Republicans have really embraced. That they're --

[15:45:15] GRISHAM: -- being told that they can't realize their own elected right potential here. And they're elected responsibility because they're not allowing us to do our job.

KEILAR: Yes. It's not just one proposal it's almost a handful of proposal's there. I do want to ask you about some of the President's comments. He was doing a roundtable with California leaders who referred to MS-13 gang members as animals. But first, I want us to listen to what the minority Nancy Pelosi said about it today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: And so when the President of the United States says about undocumented immigrants, these aren't people. These are animals. You have to wonder does he not believe in the spark of divinity? The dignity and worth of every person? These are not people. These are animals. The President of the United States. Every day that you think you've seen it all along comes another manifestation of why their policies are so inhumane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: All right. But I do want us to listen to this full exchange that Nancy Pelosi is talking about between the Fresno County Sheriff and President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF MARGARET MIMS, FRESNO COUNTY: ICE is the only law enforcement agency that cannot use our databases to find the bad guys. Yet MS-13 gang member I know about if they don't reach certain threshold I cannot tell ICE about them.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have people coming into the country, trying to come in. We're stopping a lot of them. But we're taking people out of the country. You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Do you agree with Nancy Pelosi on that Congresswoman where she's characterizing the -- animals is how he's describing undocumented immigrants as a wide, sort of, broadly. When he appears to be very clearly responding to a comment about members of a violent gang.

GRISHAM: Well, Brianna I appreciate that you are making sure that the context of the President's remarks are included in this conversation and debate. But let's also put into context what this President's been doing since the campaign. Right? He's worked diligently to criminalize every single immigrant. And now he's working diligently to dehumanize immigrants and while you can't argue that that was meant to be a statement that was dealing with the most nefarious actors.

In fact, his own Chief of Staff is now admitting that the vast majority of individuals that come -- that come across the border are not in fact nefarious actors or serious offenders or criminal. They're men and women searching for a better life. Asylum just like the Constitution says that they're able to do and they're working to protect their children. And so when you take all of that into consideration, I also find his remarks to be incredibly insensitive, offensive and they are intended to divide this country and to sow fear in places that it doesn't need to exist.

But only to promote his continued agenda which quite frankly is just to build a wall and to get his base fired up that all immigrants somehow do not fit into the fabric of this country, when it's the foundation of this country. It's incredibly offensive.

KEILAR: All right. Congresswoman Lujan Grisham we do appreciate your time. Thank you and coming up we have some breaking news. The President weighing in on his upcoming summit with North Korea saying he's going to know very soon if it will actually happen. And telling Kim Jong-un the best thing for him is to make a deal.

[15:49:06] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:50:30] KEILAR: So moments ago President Trump contradicted one of his own top aides on how North Korea's denuclearization should happen. This is happening as North Korea has threatened to cut off talks. First here as we listen to this sound, you're going to hear National Security Advisor John Bolton and then the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But is it a requirement that Kim Jong-un agree to give away those weapons before you give any kind of concessions.

JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I think that's right. I think we're looking at the Libya model of 2003-2004.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The Libya model was a much different model. We decimated that country. We never said to Gaddafi, oh we're going to give you protection. We're going to give you military strength. We're going to give you all of these things. We went in and decimated him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Now joining me now is the author of "Nuclear Showdown, North Korea takes on the World'. Gordon Chang is also a columnist for the Daily Beast. So the President here in maybe a striking reversal. He's doing clean up for one of his aides. What did you make of this?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR AND COLUMNIST FOR DAILY BEAST: This was absolutely fascinating. They're using the same term the Libya model but they're really using different meanings for it. When Bolton talks about Libyan model, he means basically we pull up our planes and ships and take their nukes and just go away. When the President talks about Libyan model, I think he means, sort of, like we kill a dictator. And so there's a very different sort of meanings that they both -- that both of them used.

KEILAR: But he's also speaking to Kim Jong-un who might hear Libyan model and worry Gaddafi was killed by rebels backed by the U.S.

CHANG: Yes. And I think that, you know, on the end of April when John Bolton was speaking to "Face the Nation". I think he used that phrase because he did want to instill some fear into Kim Jong-un and maybe he wanted to even derail the talks. I don't know. But the point is, that was something that was going to catch the North Korean's attention.

KEILAR: Interesting. All right. I want you to listen to this. It's a clip from a former British government official. He's visited Pyongyang several times since President Trump took office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN POWELL, BRITISH GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL: When I was there in December they were reading parts of "The Deal" wanted to discuss the book and what it showed about the President. When I went back in the beginning of this year, they were reading "Fire and Fury" all on pdfs, not buying the book itself and trying to discuss what that told them about Trump too. So they plan this very carefully. Since last November, December they've had a clear strategy and so far it's all about reaction on the side of the west to their initiative.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Jonathan Powell telling that to our Christiane Amanpour. That's pretty interesting. Right? Fire and the Fury, the Administration hated it but it certainly did give you a real texture of at least the interactions in the White House.

CHANG: Well the North Koreans study the U.S. very, very closely and they have to especially right now. They need sanctions relief from President Trump. They need a lot of things from the U.S. And so it's a critical time for them and they're going to study absolutely everything. They're going to talk to everybody. So I'm not surprised that they are reading books that Americans read as well.

KEILAR: It's very interesting to picture -- just to -- just to sort of picture that that is the -- the way to gain entry into the thinking in the White House. Of course, right? But also fascinating. Gordon Chang, thank you so much. Really appreciate it. And just in a White House official tells CNN that they have scrapped the daily communications staff meeting in the wake of that leak of an aides vulgar remark about Senator John McCain's health. We'll have more on this ahead.

[15:53:40] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:56:22] KEILAR: Fed up New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has taken to the Senate floor and Twitter to blast her colleagues for stalling on a bill that would reform the way sexual harassment is handled on Capital Hill. Gillibrand tweeting this, "One hundred days ago the House unanimously passed a bipartisan bill to address sexual harassment in Congress. As of today, the Senate has yet to bring this up for a vote. Nothing has moved." I want to bring in CNN's Sunlan Serfaty, our Congressional Correspondent who just interviewed Senator Gillibrand. Sunlan, what's she arguing today on the Senate floor?

SUNLAN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well she really wants the Senate to act here Brianna and is using this symbolic 100 day mark since the House passed their version of the legislation to try to in essence exert some political pressure on the Senate leadership. And the negotiators appear to get something -- bring something to the floor, she uses procedural maneuver called Rule 14 here today in the Senate. Which in essence is trying to force her legislation onto the floor.

What's clear is her legislation is not going to go forth, that's according to her Republican leadership aide who tells me that this morning. But there is an effort that she is also a part of a bipartisan effort to reach a compromised deal to tweak part of the House passed legislation to make a product that can actually as passed in the Senate. I asked her about that just moments ago here in her office. Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: So we're all working together on a bipartisan basis right now to try to reach resolution. All we need is the political will to move this bill forward and get a vote.

SERFATY: Do you think there hasn't been a political will? It's been three months since --

GILLIBRAND: It's taking too long. There's under no scenario should have taken 100 days to get a vote on a bill that passed the House of Representatives unanimously. So I'm eager to get a vote. We did a Rule 14 motion today. Both Senator Cruz and I and a bunch of Democrats have been working really hard on this bill. Patty Murray, Jeff Merkley, Elizabeth Warren, we all said we want to vote on this bill. And so I'm optimistic that with the intentional advocacy we might have a little more political will to get a vote sooner than later.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY: And that right there is really the reason why she really pushed spotlight on this morning on the fact that Senate legislation has been stalled for so long. That said Brianna there are negotiations going down behind the scenes. I've heard from the Republican negotiator, the Democratic negotiator who both have told me this week that they are inching more towards a potential final agreement. We could potentially see that as early as next week. But as of now, no final deal yet.

KEILAR: Why Sunlan and you have reported extensively on this topic. You helped, sort of, explain this really, kind of crazy way that this is handled in Congress. Why has dealing with this hit so many roadblocks in the Senate?

SERFATY: Well it's really complex and we're talking about a law that has been placed up here on Capital Hill since 1995. It's called a Congressional Accountability Act. They have to really go through there and figure out what changes need to be made. There is a lot of hiccups over this idea of personal liability. The fact that part of this new law would make members on the hook for paying any sexual harassment settlements and other forms of discrimination settlements out of their own pocket instead of tapping into this taxpayer fund. As they've been allowed to do previously so a lot is still nuance is to how specific provision of this new law needs to be changed.

KEILAR: Sunlan, thank you so much for that report. And thank you so much for joining me. The Lead with Jake Tapper starts right now.

[16:00:07]